Ps 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20
Lk 10:1-12, 17-20 or 10:1-9
As usual, this morning I needed to locate an unvisited Catholic parish that offers Sunday morning Mass. I settled on one that isn't too far away and piled into the car to journey there. I left the interstate at the planned exit and headed in the right direction; suddenly I saw a very helpful sign directing me to the target church. I probably would have found it anyway, since I had a map, but I would have gone a different, longer way. Closer to the church was a second sign at the bargain. Why are not all Catholic churches as well marked?
I approached the building and reminded myself of the advice I gave to the assistant in week 60: "make sure you check the cornerstone!" I looked and saw two staring me in the face at opposite corners of the structure, smirking at me. One read "1960" and the other read "1996." On the whole, "1996" looked more descriptive of the building as a whole. Further analysis and reflection suggests that the main section dates from 1960 while a major addition to the sanctuary and some auxiliary structures date from 1996. Probably the original section was simply a peaked auditorium with a simple, streamlined sanctuary. I suspect that what happened afterward is that the original sanctuary was removed and replaced with a much grander version, and substantial side sections were added as well, converting it into a "T" configuration. What we see now is a huge, larger-than-life traditional crucifix mounted on a convex wall behind the sanctuary. At the base of this wall is a traditional, domed, metal tabernacle on a marble stand with a pillar underneath; this matches the marble altar and ambo (at the left and ahead of the altar). The ambry is mounted on the left corner of the sanctuary wall. An effort to balance the ambo was made by placing a circular marble baptismal font at the right corner of the sanctuary. To the left of the sanctuary is a section of three rows of individual seats for a choir (not present today). The organ is adjacent to the choir section, to the left. At the right of the sanctuary is a section for votive candles. The right wall of the nave has four tall stained-glass windows that are mostly abstract. Small square tapestries mounted on the side walls depict the Stations of the Cross. The walls are mostly brick. The pews are upholstered and hold racks with the OCP combination of Today's Missal (large-type edition) and Music Issue in the familiar blue plastic binder.
Mass began as the cantor/organist announced the first hymn, "Sing a New Song." Two servers, slightly older than what I typically see these days, a reader, and the priest participated in the entrance procession through the center aisle. The priest and servers took their positions in the seats at the right of the sanctuary. We recited the Confiteor and the Gloria. The priest then offered the alternate opening prayer.
The reader left his place in the pews and went to the ambo to give the first reading. He stepped aside while the organist led the responsorial psalm for the day from the organ. The reader returned to the ambo to give the second reading. The organist led the singing of the Celtic Alleluia and verse before the Gospel. The priest went to the ambo and proclaimed the short form of the Gospel.
The homily began with the observation that travel is difficult; generally we start by making detailed plans and purchasing tickets and deciding what to take; Jesus, by contrast, tells us not to make any plans. He just says, "Go!" We aren't even to worry about what to say; the Holy Spirit will take care of that.
We recited the Creed; the priest bowed at the appropriate moment and I suspect others did as well. The reader went back to the ambo to lead the intentions of the Prayer of the Faithful; this ended with the recitation of the Renew 2000 prayer, which was all the rage for a while but generally has fallen into disuse along with the many imitators it spawned. A collection was taken using long-handled wicker baskets as we sang the offertory hymn, "Here I Am, Lord." Several people presented the gifts. The chalice, paten, and ciboriums were of metal; a glass flagon held additional wine. At the Orate Fratres prayer, the congregation stood at the correct point, after the priest's invitation.
The Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation, Great Amen, and Agnus Dei were from the Mass of Creation setting. The priest offered the second Eucharistic Prayer. We recited the Our Father; I saw no evidence of hand-holding, but I was sitting near the front today and the side sections were mostly empty. During the Sign of Peace, the priest left the sanctuary to greet those in the front right pew, but those on the left received only a wave.
At Holy Communion, the four extraordinary ministers did not enter the sanctuary until after the priest had received, which is actually unusual in my experience. Stations were located on the center aisle and the right side section; the left side section was almost deserted but I didn't notice how those who were there received. The chalice was offered at two stations to either side of the center aisle. The offertory hymn was "Taste and See."
After Communion, the priest carefully purified the vessels at the altar. He offered the closing prayer and imparted a simple blessing before departing via the center aisle with the servers. The closing hymn was "America the Beautiful." The priest forced all four verses by waiting until the fourth verse to leave the sanctuary. Most everyone remained until the end. The Mass ran about 50 minutes. Afterward it was time for the hour and a half journey home.
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On East 1st St in Moscow, Idaho, you'll find Mass at St. Mary Church. Almost anywhere in the world, you can find a Catholic Mass.
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